A Long Weekend in Shakespeare's England
A LONG WEEKEND IN SHAKESPEARE'S ENGLAND
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
- To take in the picturesque architecture
- Explore the many attractions
- Enjoy independent shops, cafes and bars
- Take a trip to the beautiful Cotswolds countryside
In late summer, my Mum and I set off on a road trip from Manchester to explore the area of the UK that is known as ‘Shakespeare’s England’ for four nights. I love spending time in different parts of the UK and if you get nice weather, it really is just as good a place to have a holiday as going abroad.
Our first stop was Stratford-upon-Avon, which we’d both visited briefly a couple of times previously. Stratford-upon-Avon is very picturesque and it’s a place full of history, particularly on the literature front due to it being, you guessed it, William Shakespeare’s birthplace.
During our time in Stratford-upon-Avon we took in a spot of shopping, visiting independent boutiques, high-street chains and charity shops and were lucky enough to catch the end of a Saturday antiques market.
When we weren’t shopping, we visited Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall and took a river cruise with Avon Boating. Shakespeare’s school is a building full of history, which has been carefully preserved and you can even take part in a historic school class, sit in a headmaster’s chair and have a go at writing with a scroll.
The boat trip was perfect for a sunny day and it was nice to take in some scenery (and nosey at some grand houses and their back gardens along the way) but we didn’t go as far as I was expecting in the hour long cruise.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Stratford-upon-Avon and our particular favourites were drinks on the balcony at the Swan Theatre, where you can take in a great view of the town, tea and cake at Boston Tea Party, which is housed in a very stylish old school hall and finally, dinner at The Arden which is a must visit (you can read my review here).
Next on our list was Warwick, but before heading there, we stopped off in Alderminster for a spot of lunch at The Bell. Both Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick are close to The Cotswolds and lots of beautiful British countryside and it’s definitely worth allowing some time to explore this area when visiting either town.
At lunchtime, the picturesque pub offers a set 2-course or 3-course menu for a reasonable £14.50 or £17. We ate a light and fresh Haloumi Salad starter before tucking into more hearty main courses of Hake and Crayfish with Dill Cream Linguine and Pea & Mint Risotto. We also shared a pudding of Lemon Tart over a pot of tea in a very pleasing Camel Teapot! The pub was busy on the lunchtime we visited and it had a lovely atmosphere amidst stylish surroundings and a gorgeous view. The set menu is great value and it's definitely worth a visit.
Warwick is of course known for its castle, which has stunning gardens and whilst we didn’t get chance to visit, we did head over to have a look and take some pictures. If you’re after somewhere historic to visit, then there is also Lord Leycester Hospital, which is a picturesque and unique building.
Warwick is a small but pretty town and it’s the sort of place where you come across discoveries around every corner. There are some great boutiques, antique shops and charity shops for a mooch and the market square is a lovely spot to sit outdoors and enjoy a drink in the sunshine.
We enjoyed a drink in a few places including The Old Coffee Tavern, which is a cool pub with retained period features yet has quite a hipster feel and Zetland Hotel, which has a quiet and private beer garden that is the perfect spot to indulge in an early evening glass of wine.
Both Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick are definitely worth a visit and there are so many places that are an easy drive from both, including Cotswold villages and the cities of Leamington Spa and Coventry.
For more information visit www.shakespeares-england.co.uk